The Ghostriders started their weekend on a low note but finished on a high, losing to Kamloops Storm Friday (Oct. 26) but defeating the Castlegar Rebels Saturday (Oct. 27).
The Storm overpowered the Ghostriders Friday night, causing the home team to take a 2-1 loss.
Kamloops led the first period with a goal under three minutes in. The Ghostriders didn’t recover until late in the second when Dylan Defosse tied the game with the help of Ethan Jang and Sebastian Iannuzzi.
Kamloops’ Tyler Maser scored the away team’s second goal early in the third and Fernie did not recover by the end of the match.
Players began to heat up and penalties started to become more frequent as the game went on, with the third period seeing six players in the box.
In a stunning display of unsportsmanlike behaviour, Kamloops player Brett Mero was given a gross misconduct penalty after he was seen squatting over a downed Fernie player. This sent the crowd into a frenzy. The Kamloops Storm was also given a team penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct just 14 seconds earlier.
Ghostriders Head Coach Jeff Wagner said that a flat start early in the game resulted in them having to climb their way back in. As happy as he was with their efforts in the latter half, Wagner said the players need to figure out a way to play the full 60 minutes.
“Just looking to make sure we bounce back tomorrow, build off those last two periods and hopefully get a positive result tomorrow,” he said.
The following night, Wagner’s wish came true as the team battled the Castlegar Rebels, securing a 4-2 victory.
A recent trade, David Lenzin of the Revelstoke Grizzlies gave Fernie their first point of the game in the last half of the first period.
Wagner said he was happy with the trade and that Lenzin has been a valuable asset on the forward line. He called him “a professional on and off the ice” and added that he is establishing himself very well with the Fernie crew.
After Lenzin’s goal, the Rebels answered back with a fast point in the beginning of the second, but 10 minutes later, Fernie’s Jordan Kromm was able to give Fernie back its lead.
Brendan Nemes put a goal away for Fernie 10 minutes into the last period and although Castlegar was able to secure another goal, Jang gave Fernie a comfortable lead, which the home team was able to hold until the final whistle blew.
The penalty count for this game was significantly lower than the previous night, with only three per period on average as compared to over five per period against Kamloops.
“Saturday night, we hit the ground running… we dictated the pace, we played with urgency, we played with positive emotion. And we did it for 60 minutes. That was the one thing we talked about going into Saturday night after a bit of a disappointing effort in the first period on Friday night,” said Wagner.
Sawan Gill was named home star in Saturday night’s victory for his efficiency and execution in moving the puck, and assisting in critical plays.
“He sees the ice at an elite level,” said Wagner.
The head coach added that on Saturday night, Gill moved the puck better than he’s ever seen him.
“He’s establishing himself as a top guy for us on the back end (defense) and each game it seems like he’s improving, so it’s really good to see,” said Wagner.
The Fernie Ghostriders will be away for the month of November, with two home games being played in Sparwood.
On November 9, the Ghostriders take on the Grand Forks Border Bruins and on Nov. 24, they take on the Golden Rockets.
Fernie will celebrate being back at home on December 1, with what is sure to be an upbeat home game against the Kimberley Dynamiters.